Look, everyone loves flowers. They look pretty! They smell good! What’s not to love? Through history, people have contemplated how these plants can embody our moods, emotions, thoughts, and desires, sometimes even exchanging bouquets as a substitute for words.
While most people know their zodiac sign or birthstones, birth month flowers have secret coded meanings, too. Although the origins of using special flowers for your birthday go back much further—some say they date back to ancient Roman birthday traditions—”the language of flowers” became super-popular in early 18th century England. Floriography (fun word!) was a huge trend in the Victorian era: Each flower was imbued with a secret meaning, and you could send messages through bouquets…or birthday presents.
But first, remember…
Just because a flower is—or isn’t—your birth month flower doesn’t mean you can’t use it to send a message to someone that you love. That’s the true beauty of knowing and honoring the language of flowers. So buy a bouquet and *give someone something to think about.* It’s a not-so-secret secret, and you’re the one in charge!
JANUARY: Carnation and Snowdrop
As we embark into the beginning of winter, we seriously need flowers to brighten things up. In January, carnations and snowdrop embody the energy of this time of the year.
Carnation is a gorgeous fringe-petaled flower, wildly popular and widely cultivated. Often referred to as a “flower to the gods,” these plants have been used in art, décor, and garlands. With an assortment of colors to choose from, these flowers often embody coded meanings of love, affection, and admiration.
Snowdrop is a stunning flower that grows even when snow is still on the ground at the edge of winter into spring. With a strong white color, it has the ability to express both joy and sorrow. It represents hope, compassion, and innocence. Yet, as this delicate plant has often been known to grow near graveyards, people have also considered it as a sign of optimism despite grief.
FEBRUARY: Violet and Primrose
As we move through winter and celebrate Valentine’s Day, violet and primrose embody the month of February. While not many plants bloom during this time, these two can sprinkle themselves like a tapestry against the snow (or mud).
Violets, while often purple, do come in an assortment of colors. Throughout history, they have been tied to devotion, modesty, and innocence, thanks in part to their heart-shaped leaves.
Primrose is one of the first blooming flowers of spring. While one might think it’s a “rose,” it actually is an entirely different plant. It has often been cited for magical qualities, such as protection and love, and it’s been used to symbolize the many stages of a woman’s life, from child to elder.
MARCH: Daffodil and Jonquil
As spring begins, we find ourselves surrounded by daffodils and jonquils. These beauts often make themselves known at these times, ready to smile up at the sun and remind us of rebirth.
Daffodils often have six petals, as well as a bell-shaped crown that is frilled on the edges. They are usually yellow or white. Because they are one of the first plants to bloom, they represent new beginnings, innocence, creativity, and hope. These plants return every year, promising to invigorate us with excitement every time. Jonquils are an offshoot of daffodils. While daffodils often have a slightly sweeter and lighter scent, jonquils are heavily perfumed and leave an impact.
APRIL: Daisy and Sweet Pea
With spring greeting us, we find daisy and sweet pea as the honorable flowers of April. Daisy is a stunning flower that throughout history has been said to convey innocence and purity, as well as true and complete love. These sweethearts are one of the earliest plants to arise during spring and they can last until late fall. This longevity embodies their strength and hidden meanings. Because their seeds can be scattered widely, they can pop up suddenly in meadows, near streams, or even in your backyard.
Sweet pea also holds a very strong tie to conveying messages, like “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” or even “thinking of you.” Their shimmering fragrance, which can be likened to honey or oranges, lingers within a room—helping the message resonate.
MAY: Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn
As we move into the warmer weather and bright hopeful skies of May, lily of the valley and hawthorn make their prominence known.
Lily of the Valley is a soft, whispering flower, but it’s also powerful underneath it all. It has the ability to spread like wildfire and take over fields or mountains. This plant embodies sensitivity and grace, as well as true purity. With their bell-shaped flowers and potent scent, they make their presence known. They’re a symbol of happiness after making it through a long winter’s night.
Hawthorn delivers not only flower petals, but also small berries. For many years, it has been known as a profound sign of hope. As a plant that symbolizes the turn from spring to summer, they also signify strength.
JUNE: Rose and Honeysuckle
As we embrace the end of springtime and the arrival of summer, June brings a festive and passionate vibe to our lives. The days reach their longest period, with nights slim but warm. Rose and honeysuckle are the flowers of June.
Rose, throughout time, has often been tied to deep emotions of affection, romance, and love. Now found in a multitude of colors, it is most famous in its brilliant red incarnation. While red roses are often tied most closely to passionate desire, pink represents joy and admiration, with white embodying purity.
Honeysuckles, as their name alludes, are brilliant beacons for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. This gorgeous plant often grows in pairs or clusters with four petals. Throughout history, it has symbolized new love or affection—and can sometimes be used to remember a first love or old flame.
JULY: Larkspur and Water Lily
With the sun sizzling, we can feel the salty summer sweat sizzling upon our skin! As we charge into the hottest month of the year, July, larkspur and water lily give us some relief.
Larkspurs, with their stark height and stunning purple-blue blooms, shimmer in the sunlight and always catch the eye. They embody positivity and dedication. When it comes to this plant, they can’t be hidden—they can grow to several feet! This light-hearted and carefree attitude echoes from them as they shake their hips in the breeze.
Water lilies, known for their eye-catching pops of color and unique nature, can come in an assortment of varieties and bloom at different times of the day or night. While white water lilies are tied to purity and chastity, pink water lilies can represent friendship, and red varieties ooze passion. Ultimately, though, they are found to represent resurrection and rebirth because they open and close each day.
AUGUST: Gladiolus and Poppy
During the warmth of August, we are enamored by gladiolus and poppies, with their blooms reaching fullness. Both these flowers honor the meaning of remembrance.
Gladiolus represent both strength and love, with their gorgeous, tall stalks and vibrant, electric colors. Their sword-like appearance and trumpet-shaped petals look like lips calling out memories of what has come before. Since ancient times, they have also been noted to bring victory and healing.
Poppies, however, have a bit more somber of a meaning. Honoring those we have lost, especially those in war, poppies sing with love and tragedy, but also gratitude. This flower grows all over the world and cannot be tamed, just like the indomitable human spirit.
SEPTEMBER: Aster and Morning Glory
As we turn a corner into fall and peer backwards into the summer heat, we find aster and morning glory carry extra special importance. While they may be late bloomers, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t also filled with magnificent beauty.
Asters, with their vibrant spectrum of colors, carry a daisy-like appearance. For centuries, they have been known to speak of revolution, whether in honor of soldiers who have fallen or artists and poets who wish to create a new world. With a star-like shape, they almost seem to sparkle.
Morning glory, on the other hand, is an emblem of undying love. Whether it’s for your first love, true love, or even to an unrequited love, morning glory is a promise that no matter what happens, your faith and passion will never die. As a flower that grows on a vast vine, so, too, will your love.
OCTOBER: Marigold and Cosmos
Now with the days growing longer and the memories of warmth starting to fade, we venture boldly into the shadows and colors of autumn of October. Here we meet marigold and cosmos, with stories and secrets of their own. While these vibrant plants can sprout earlier in the year, they have strength to them where they are able to hold on until the very first crisp frosts in the harvests to come.
Marigolds, with their intense orange spectrum of colors, have been used in burial rites throughout different cultures. This has brought them a strong symbolism tied to death and grief. Yet, as much as this may seem macabre, it isn’t—it is a symbol of the celebration of life.
Cosmos are a flower of balance: Just as we have passed beyond the balance of light and dark at the autumn equinox. Cosmos are also tied to luck and peace. This soft sweetheart returns every year and ranges in a lighter spectrum of colors, from pink to white.
In the darkness of the ever-consuming autumn, we embrace the magic and mystery that November holds. Here we meet chrysanthemum. For centuries, this flower has been synonymous with the autumn season. As one of the most widely grown and distributed flowers on earth, they always leave an impact no matter when or where they are found.
Chrysanthemum can come in a few different varieties, each carrying their own meaning. Ultimately, most mirror loyalty, fortune, happiness, and friendship.
DECEMBER: Holly and Narcissus
With the year behind us, what lies ahead? Holly and narcissus, of course! With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, these two charming flowers have become staples during this time of the year. They bring a festive splash of magic and holiday spirit amidst the dimming lights.
Holly, famous for its use in wreaths and décor, has found an evergreen magic that we can’t live without. It has gorgeous green leaves with bright, shimmering red berries. Throughout history, holly has been tied to religious traditions and spiritual beliefs. Ultimately, it is a symbol of renewal as we pass through winter solstice to once again move back toward the light.
Narcissus, on the other hand, has charming white flowers that bloom just in time for the holidays. While its name ties to an ancient myth about falling in love with oneself, in recent centuries, it has also been found to carry the meaning that “you are my only one.”